Telangana Revives Demand For UT Status To Ladakh

Telangana Revives Demand For UT Status To Ladakh

3 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Following Centre’s green signal to creation of 29th Indian State, Telangana carving it out of Andhra Pradesh and brewing up of similar demands in Gorkhaland (West Bengal), Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra etc, prominent leaders from Ladakh have also joined the chorus for conferring Union Territory status to Ladakh, which, they claimed, was demand of the people since independence much before the Telangana issue cropped up. They vowed that they would make all possible efforts to get their demand conceded by the Union of India. Barring National Conference, almost all political parties and organisations including all powerful Leh Buddhist Association (LBA) have strongly supported the demand for UT status to Ladakh. The leaders from Leh were of the view that they were lying low at present in view of the presence of Tibetan spiritual leader and His Holiness Dalai Lama in Leh. “The demand would gain momentum after the completion of visit of Dalai Lama,” they said. Former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader P Namgayal, who had been a member of Parliament as well as State Legislature and was Minister in Rajiv Gandhi Government, said all parties and organisation in Leh, excepting National Conference were going to raise their demand very vociferously for UT status to Ladakh. “We want UT status to Ladakh with Legislature on the pattern of New Delhi and Puducherry,” he said, adding that all parties in Leh were working on one line and that is grant of the UT status. He said it was only the National Conference, which has a different stand and was opposed to UT status to Ladakh. “All parties will take a unanimous decision after the return of His Holiness from Leh,” Mr Namgayal said. Leh Buddhist Association (LBA) president Dr Tondup Teswang said the LBA was strongly in favour of UT status to Ladakh and added that the demand would definitely gain momentum with the proposed creation of Telangana by the Union Government. “Whenever we get the chance we raise our voice in favour of UT status. We use every forum…every platform…every opportunity to reiterate our long pending demand. And, we are confident the Government of India would not only take note of our demand but fulfill it,” Mr Teswang said. He added that the LBA was conscious of its duty and task and wouldn’t leave any stone unturned in getting UT status for Ladakh. Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, Ghulam Hassan Khan, who had won the 2009 election as an Independent candidate but later affiliated himself with National Conference, is not supportive of the demand. “There is no demand on ground for grant of UT status to Ladakh,” Mr Khan said, adding the proposed creation of Telangana didn’t mean that “we should start raising the demand for UT status to Ladakh”. The Ladakh MP asserted that there were two parties supporting the UT-one of whom has merged into the BJP and another into the Congress, an indirect reference towards the group headed by former MP Thupstan Chhewang and Leh Union Territory Front (LUTF). Mr Chhewang, a former Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, recalled that demand for UT status to Ladakh was much old than Telangana. “We have been demand UT for Ladakh since independence as we have suffered a lot at the hands of Kashmir dispensation,” he said. Saying that time has come for launching a joint movement in favour of UT status to Ladakh, Mr Chhewang called upon LAHDC, Leh CEO Rigzin Spalbar to resign like Gorkha Hill Council chief and come under joint platform of LBA to give momentum to the UT demand and put pressure on Congress headed UPA Government at the Centre to concede their demand. Independent MLA from Nobra, Leh, Tsetan Namgayal, who also indirectly supports the ruling National Conference, said the people of Leh have strong aspirations for the UT status. “Ultimate and final solution to all demands of Leh lie in conferment of UT status to Ladakh, ” Mr Namgayal, a former state Minister, said. However, another former Minister in 1996 Farooq Abdullah regiment and present Omar Abdullah Government and now Advisor to Chief Minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon, MLA Kargil said the people of Kargil didn’t support the demand for bifurcation of the State and grant of UT status to Ladakh. “We stand for united State,” he added.